This month we’re talking about Palm Oil – what it is, where you find it, the impact it has, and where to find more info to minimise your consumption of it. I’m thrilled to introduce Jessica Salazar in this post – she’s written a fab article to take us through the basics and introduce the topic. You can read more about Jessica and link up with her at the end of the article. 

Palm Oil Pin

The ins and outs of Palm Oil

When you hear palm oil, what do you think? Do you know what it is? Do you know what products or foods contain it? 

Well if you don’t know, you are not alone. Just ask your neighbour or friends, I did. I was surprised that after I did that the majority of the individuals I asked didn’t really know what it was and how it affected our environment. This is fine though, palm oil is not something you hear on the daily and if you don’t read labels on items you would not really even notice that it’s in most of your household items and food staples right now (test it, go check) I promise you will be amazed.

As I transitioned to a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle there was a time I didn’t really know what it was either or read labels for that matter.

Mind you, there’s still a lot to learn so this very post has broadened my knowledge even more so on the topic and I hope it does the same for you. So as I “geek out” about getting a bit smarter in the palm oil biz I wanted to share what I discovered about palm oil, why it matters, how it affects you and our environment and how you can shop palm oil free.

So what’s the big deal with this so-called “palm oil” you might ask and is it really *that* important for me to actually care about it? Well, I can easily tell you, of course, you need to care about it but before I do that I want to present the facts and opinions so you can see for yourself.

So let’s start with this, yes the bare upfront question…

What in the world is palm oil? 

Well to start off, it’s a vegetable oil that comes at a lower cost of production than other vegetable oils.

The interesting thing about this oil is that it can be found in various food products, detergents, cosmetics, soaps and can be used as an oil or transformed into a byproduct. For example, palm oil is in your ice cream to keep it creamy and can also be used to produce biofuel.

So this little ingredient is everywhere (yes, not even kidding) everywhere! Since palm oil is a “productive” crop, demand for it is rapidly growing in various parts of the world. Why? Well, because we are using it up and most of us don’t even know it.

How does palm oil impact you and our environment and why it matters?

So you might think ok, ok, this little ninja ingredient is everywhere (so it must not be that bad, right?!) does it really harm me and if I am not directly affected by it should I even care? 

Well, some might say out of sight out of mind and even though a lot of us may not know about this ingredient it’s definitely something we should be talking about and exposing. This is what I found out: the main topics that we should be paying attention to are… habitat for wildlife, air pollution and climate change. Yes, all because of palm oil production. 

Let’s start with the animals…

Naturally to produce “something” you need to make room for it. The result of that though, ecosystems and tropical forests are being cleared out for these plantations.

The habitats destroyed house some of the world’s endangered species such as elephants and rhinos. When this happens we have to think (domino effect) and the aftermath. First, high demand for this “hidden” ingredient, we then need space to produce it, we clear the space out and animals are subsequently killed or are forced to travel outside their natural habitat resulting them to come in contact with humans and surrounding communities like never before.

Air pollution and climate change…

Now I don’t know about you but walking into a room full of potentially harmful smoke is not ideal or fun. Think of a smokehouse within a forest because burning is a common clearing method for plantations and palm oil plantations are in that group.

Burning forests release carbon dioxide along with smoke to our atmosphere, which unfortunately plays a roll in climate change and air pollution.

How can you shop palm oil free?

So not to worry after reading these dirty facts about palm oil you ask yourself How can I shop palm oil free or only support brands that produce products with sustainable palm oil practices?

Since this ingredient is in everything including your ice cream, I also had a bit of trouble searching the web for outlets that would help consumers to shop at ease. Fortunately, I came across a few resources for you all and found that these (below) were useful and could help as a guideline as you shop.

So what’s next? Well, we can all do our part by making small changes. It’s the little alterations in life that will add up (believe me they do) and you don’t have to go at it alone. Grab some friends make it an experiment or even a palm oil free fiesta and see what people bring to the party. We are human we at times make mistakes and yes, it can be hard to detect this ingredient but know that by being aware and making a conscious effort to buy palm oil free you are a part of something bigger, something positive.   

Helpful resources

Selva Beat

https://www.selvabeat.com/palm-oil-free-brands/

Everything food, beauty and palm oil free this is a one-stop shop to get informed. I enjoy their playful twist on an ethical lifestyle and what’s amazing is they have a full list of palm oil free brands that you can support and purchase from. Here are my “Top 3 Favorites” from their site:

Bearded Brothers, Energy Bars

https://www.beardedbros.com/collections/product-page

Sweet Earth

http://www.sweetearthfoods.com/our-products/

Kettle Brand Chips

http://kettlebrand.com/

Everyday Products

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/which-everyday-products-contain-palm-oil

With this site, you will learn more about what products contain palm oil and why? This is really interesting because you can test yourself and others before you unveil the facts.

Additional resources

World Wildlife

https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/palm-oil

The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/18/why-cant-i-buy-more-palm-oil-free-products

Ethical Consumer

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/shoppingethically/palmoilfreelist.aspx

Biography

Hi there! I’m Jessica Salazar, as an Influencer and Blogger I stand for ethical fashion, cruelty-free living, and veganism. I am an advocate for a positive, balanced lifestyle while supporting women’s and animal welfare. Being a Coach and Professor has taught me to nurture relationships, understand what people need, and how to lead. With that fulfillment, I felt I was still missing something and I knew that dedicating my time and energy to my brand was what I needed to do. Leaving my job to pursue my passion is the life I chose and will choose every day. If this helps others to do the same and yearn for more, I am doing my job.

Find Jessica here:

Website: allthereaugust.com

Instagram/Twitter: @allthereaugust

Facebook: All There August By Jessica Salazar

 

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